Luis Enrique in firing line after latest Barca slip-up

Luis Enrique arrived at Barca having impressed with the quick-passing philosophy he instilled at Celta Vigo and on Saturday he was outdone by his former players as the stuttering Catalan side lost 1-0 and relinquished top spot in La Liga.


The surprise beating comes on the back of their El Clasico defeat last weekend, when they were comprehensively outplayed by an in-form Real Madrid.

Against Celta, their disjointed performance led to whistles from the Camp Nou crowd and sports director Andoni Zubizarreta was forced into backing the coach after being asked about his future on Spanish television.

“There are no doubts about Luis Enrique,” Zubizarreta told Canal Plus.

“Football is like this, you hit four posts and their keeper plays very well. Our football was lacking a bit at 1-0 but still we had clear chances that we didn’t take. In the first half, we controlled the game despite Celta pressing high up the pitch.”

Barca missed out on all the major trophies last season which triggered the end for Gerardo Martino but there has been little sign of improvement so far in terms of the style of play.

They are lacking the pressuring from the attack backwards which was one of the hallmarks of the Pep Guardiola era and in possession the link up play is less incisive.


Ivan Rakitic was supposed to take over from Xavi as the heartbeat of the side in midfield but after some strong displays in his opening games, the Croat has now lost his way and was unable to make an impact against Celta.

Alongside him, Sergio Busquets does not appear as sharp as he was a few seasons ago even though he is only 26.

The team has been reliant on the individual skills of their forwards but against Celta they surprisingly were unable to deliver.

Luis Suarez made his home league debut and did well in patches but understandably lacks match fitness following his four-month biting ban.

“We didn’t have the necessary luck against Celta but we need to keep believing in ourselves. We want to turn this around and win titles because we are the best team in the world,” Suarez told reporters

Defensively, they are also lacking a regular centre-half pairing and against Celta, Gerard Pique was watching from the stands having been left out of the squad.

The Spain international’s form has been poor and he continues to hit the headlines for disciplinary reasons.

Javier Mascherano remains a fundamental player at the back despite being a converted central midfielder.

“We had a poor game and we were not sharp. Along with the fact we were unable to create chances we were not able to show our football and that is worrying,” Mascherano said.

“Still the season is long and you can’t be at your best all the time. We know that there are people as well who want to make out the team is worse than it actually is.”

(Editing by John O’Brien)